USCIS Requests Emergency Funding from Congress Due to COVID-19

May 26, 2020 | United States of America

Due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, USCIS has requested $1.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress to compensate for a shortfall in revenue.

USCIS is funded primarily by fees from immigration petitions and applications, which are collected by immigrants and their employers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has had limited service availability to process visa requests, citizenship applications, and green card applications. Additionally, the agency has suspended fast-track processing for temporary green cards and work visas. It has also cancelled all in-person interviews. As a result of these service impacts, USCIS forecasts a 61% decline in visa applications and petitions during FY 2020.

To compensate for the shortage, USCIS plans to reimburse Congress for the emergency funding by adding an additional 10% surcharge to applications for immigrant benefits. These applications generally cost $1,000 or more without a surcharge. Along with requesting emergency funding from Congress, the agency is also considering a significant raise in all filing fees. Fees for H-1B petitions may increase by 22%, and fees for L-1 petitions could increase by 77%.

USCIS offices have been closed nationwide through March 18, 2020. They are scheduled to reopen on June 4, 2020 unless the closures are extended.